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Reproductive and developmental toxicology of selected epoxides.

Kimmel CA; LaBorde JB; Hardin BD
Toxicology and the Newborn, Kacew 1984; :271-287
The toxic effects of four industrial epoxides are reviewed. The proximate form of a number of carcinogens and mutagens is known to be an epoxide metabolite. Epoxides are also proposed as the active form of certain teratogenic agents. Four such oxides are ethylene- oxide (75218), propylene-oxide (75569), butylene-oxide (26249207), and styrene-oxide (96093). Ethylene-oxide is recognized as mutagenic in rats and mice. The compound causes somatic cytogenic damage in humans as a result of occupational exposure. The compound is also teratogenic in in-vivo mammalian systems. Propylene-oxide is clearly mutagenic in several in-vitro bacterial assays. Chromosomal damage is detected following in-vitro propylene-oxide treatment of human lymphocytes. Data indicates the potential for adverse effects of this compound on fertility and survival of the offspring as well as other forms of fetal toxicity. Butylene-oxide is reported as mutagenic in in-vitro Salmonella, Klebsiella, and mammalian all point mutation assays. Butylene-oxide did not produce any significant developmental toxicity in rabbits or rats in inhalation exposure. Styrene-oxide is mutagenic in a series of in-vitro tests utilizing bacterial, yeast, and mammalian cells in culture. Chromosomal aberrations and sister chromatid exchanges are detected in cultures of human lymphocytes. Styrene-oxide is embryotoxic and teratogenic in chick embryo. The compound is maternally toxic to rats and rabbits, but no evidence of teratogenicity is observed. Increased fetal mortality is noted only in rats at 100 parts per million. The authors conclude that all four epoxides warrant restricted exposure and care when handling.
Epoxides; Toxicology; Reproductive-system; Cytotoxicity; Workers; Reproductive-effects; Teratology; Cytology; Work-operations; Toxic-effects
75-21-8; 75-56-9; 26249-20-7; 96-09-3
Publication Date
Kacew S; Reasor MJ
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Toxicology and the Newborn, Kacew
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division